Today’s facebook live was so much fun.  I had an inspiration to have us watch Chef’s Table, Season 3, episode 1 – Jeong Kwan and the intention was to write down three take-home points which could be integrated into our new current self-quarantine reality.  As well as life outside this current reality as we re-emerge to the outside world.

Jeong Kwan is a Monk from South Korea.  She is one of 7 children and left her childhood home to become a Buddhist Monk.  Through various sequences of events in her life, she was prompted to leave at the tender age of 17, never to return to her childhood home again.  This episode is visually stunning, and the cinematography is beautiful. But the lessons were powerful. I have seen this episode years prior, but watching it again in order to take notes for the facebook live, my body was lit up; I felt electricity coursing through me.  I was moved, I was humbled, I was emotional, I was surrendered, I was the ultimate student. It is an incredible episode.

When I suggested this episode, I had forgotten the depth of wisdom conveyed.  Our collective homework for this facebook live was to write three points learned, to incorporate during the quarantine.  I took 9 pages of handwritten notes. Little did I recall, that the undercurrent impulse for Jeong Kwan, which drove her life, was FREEDOM.  A very fitting theme for us during this strange time of our existence.

Jeong Kwan is an enlightened being.  The food she shares is a communication of pure consciousness to physical form.  There is a lot of spiritual ego and spiritual bypassing when it comes to defining enlightenment.  Make no bones about it, enlightenment is a gut raw, shattering, dark to light process. It has NOTHING to do with hierarchy over others.  I thought I would begin by sharing one of my favorite definitions of enlightenment by Spiritual teacher, Adyashanti:

“Enlightenment is a destructive process.  It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.  Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense.”

Pretense is defined as:  An attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.

The sharing on facebook live was incredible.  I was humbled that so many took the time and the lesson to heart; if given the chance, it is worthy of watching this live.  The episode gave me many points, however, I will share my three takehomes:

  1. Living one with nature:  To become enlightened, means you have evolved past the illusion of duality.  Duality is taking the stance of right versus wrong. Left versus right. Good versus bad.  Competition. Fear. Control. An enlightened being will integrate their inner world so deeply that there is only ONENESS.  Jeong’s vegetable garden is not wired off from pigs for fear of eating all her crops; nor is it sprayed with chemicals to speed growth and prevent insects.  She enters the orchestra of nature versus trying to control it; she just trusts. To integrate this during quarantine is to recognize there can be beauty in this time; recognize there is harmony in the body; there is no outside, inside world, there is oneness.  Recognize that everyone is correct in how they are reacting to this pandemic.
  2. We are being given the opportunity to be “Kim Chi”:  There was a profound moment where Chef Eric Ripert was providing a monologue on the ancient process of fermentation overtop of the visual of Jeong Kwan preparing Kim Chi – or Korean fermented Cabbage.  He says she is using time and attention to create flavor with a practice that is centuries old. A slow development of flavor with fermentation. From raw Cabbage to fermented Kim Chi. He states that Fermentation = salt + air + time ⇒ Transformation.  Transformation of the process.  You create through the process another life.  To me I took this as the most beautiful metaphor for being in quarantine.  With this extra time, we can finally place attention to ourselves and our inner world; perhaps for the first time ever.  And under the gaze of that inner attention, a deep process of transformation can occur. What will I create? Through this process which life will exit this quarantine?  What am I placing my attention on? The greatest currency on the planet is attention. What ancient purpose will emerge from my inward attention. We are the Kim Chi.
  3. You must not be your own obstacle:  The obstacle being your mind; seeing life from the lens of fear; control; the ego.  You must not be owned by the environment you are in. You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you.  You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind. She is describing the mind as a time of symbolic self-quarantine, and for our purpose a time of physical self-quarantine.  If the environment owns us, this is due to the lens of fear and control. So I chose to not tune into the media; I extract what I need to know a few minutes a day, and that is all.  She is saying we create our reality, we are being asked to surrender viewing life through the lens of fear and control. I am choosing to see the beauty in this quarantine for me personally.  There is time to rest; to spend with my inner world; to spend time to spark joy in my home; and to work on a passion project that has been a dream for many years. This is the reality I am choosing to create.  She speaks of being able to oscillate in and out of the mind to the heart as a being free. It is possible to be completely free, yet quarantined and disconnected.

In health, Dr. Neetu